Friday, September 6, 2013

Quote of the Day (Paul Theroux, on a ‘Deep Green Marvel’ in Africa)

“After miles of gravel and some upright spinning funnels of dust devils and the light brown scrub of the bush, and the immensity of woodland and camel thorns—after all that thirst, the Okavango Delta is unexpectedly drenched, as the desert deliquesces into a watery mirage, a deep green marvel that bubbles up and sprawls over the left shoulder of Botswana as a succession of swamps. Most river deltas occur at the edge of a landmass, widening and dumping soil and water, enlarging the shore, pouring the current into a body of water. The Okavango is unusual in being landlocked; the stream of the river, fed by numerous watercourses draining from a catchment area in the planalto of Angola, the wooded highlands of the far north, becomes a delta hundreds of miles wide. This river—lush and sodden and silted—empties all its flow into the middle of the Kalahari Desert. The precise and pretty name for this natural wonder of watery interstices and spreading rivulets is an alluvial fan.”—Paul Theroux, “The Joys and Dangers of Exploring Africa on the Back of an Elephant,” Smithsonian, April 2013

(The image accompanying this site, of hippos in the Okavango Delta, was taken and donated in July 2006 by user: Guinnog for the Wikimedia Commons Website.)

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